It’s no secret that groceries can be EXPENSIVE.
From premium products to buying groceries for multiple people in your family, everyone struggles with saving money on groceries.
If your grocery budget needs a break, try these 8 tips to save money on your groceries this week!
Grocery Savings Tip #1: Create a Meal Plan
I’m NOT saying you have to be an Instagram meal prepper to save money!
But those meal preppers do use one of the best grocery savings strategies around: create a meal plan before you go shopping!
How often do you walk into the grocery store not knowing what to make for dinner that week?
Before you go to the grocery store, set aside a few minutes to check your calendar and plan each of your meals for the week ahead.
Do you need cereal for breakfast, or do you make breakfast from scratch every morning?
Does your family eat sandwiches for lunch every day? Or should you plan for bigger dinners that give you leftovers every day?
Are you busy every night this week and should plan for multiple slow cooker dinners?
If you have a few extra minutes, try combining your meal plan with Step #2!
Grocery Savings Tip #2: Shop the Specials
Whether you check out the paper circular ad from the newspaper or check out the ad online, your grocery store’s weekly circular ad is a goldmine of grocery savings. Don’t forget about it!
If you’re looking to save money on your grocery bill, look at the specials in the ad BEFORE planning your meal- plan around it instead!
Is chicken on sale this week? Maybe plan on 2 dinners with chicken instead of 1?
Don’t see ground beef on sale this week? Consider saving meatloaf until next week when it’s back on sale.
Remember that ads tend to feature the best offers, so these offers should be saving you money.
But if you know the regular price of an item, and the ad price isn’t really a good deal, skip it!
Grocery Savings Tip #3: Write Down Your Grocery List – and Stick To It!
Now that you have your meals planned for the week, make a list!
Yes, this is one of the most basic steps in the book, but it works.
How many times have you gone into the grocery store without a list and end up walking out with an impulse buy?
Shopping with a grocery list makes it easier to maintain self-control and stick to your plan- saving you money!
Grocery Savings Tip #4: Take an Inventory of Your Cupboards and Refrigerator Before Shopping
Now that you’ve made your list, take time for one quick look at your cupboards.
Yes, your recipe requires a can of tomato paste.
But you already have it in your cupboard, you don’t need to buy another one!
Checking your inventory in advance will save you from buying duplicates AND keeps your inventory fresh.
Grocery Savings Tip #5: Join Grocery Store Loyalty Programs
Almost every grocery store has its own loyalty program, and they’re usually worth signing up for!
How do loyalty programs work? Typically, in exchange for discounts on your groceries, your grocery store collects data on your shopping trips to try to better understand how you shop.
Yes, having your data collected can be scary.
But grocery stores, like any other retailer you give your phone number to, have a LOT of rules they have to follow about collecting, using, and selling your data.
If you’re nervous, check out the fine print on the application.
If you’ve decided that you’re okay with the process, enjoy discounts on the majority of items in your grocery store. It makes a huge difference in your bill!
Grocery Savings Tip #6: Brand Loyalty Is Expensive – Buy Private Label Instead
While it’s easy to go straight for Coca-Cola, Lays Chips, and other name-brand items on the shelf, don’t neglect those “off brand” items that sit next to them on the shelf.
These brands are called “private label,” which generally just means that the brand belongs to your grocery store instead of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) company.
But here’s the secret they don’t tell you: Some of those brands were actually made by the company that produces the brand you know!
So if you see “Nice” plastic cups at Walgreens, Kroger brand soda pop or potato chips, or Market Pantry ice cream at Target, consider giving them a chance.
Stores like Aldi and Lidl have focused on private label instead of products from big CPGs, saving you lots of money while providing some delicious alternatives!
You might find you like the less expensive option!
Grocery Savings Tip #7: Skip Pre-Packaged Food
As a general rule, the more effort it takes to package something, the more expensive it will be.
For example, say you can buy a family-size bag of tortilla chips for $1, but your grocery store also sells single-serving multi-packs of the exact same product. Unless they’re on sale, expect that those single-serve packs will cost more than the same amount of chips in the same bag.
The same is true for pre-cut produce. A full bag of celery might cost the same as a pre-cut container that holds half the quantity.
Remember that convenience is expensive!
If you have the time to divide up your tortilla chips into individual plastic bag servings or cut your own celery, you can save money- even if it takes a little more time.
Grocery Savings Tip #8: Stock Up on Non-Perishables When They’re On Sale
You will always need toilet paper, paper towels, and dish soap in your home.
Pay attention to big sales on those products and stock up when you can!
Again, I’m not saying you should always have crazy amounts of non-perishables around your home- that’s not reasonable, and you don’t need to be a hoarder!
But if you have room in your home and your budget, stock up on sale items when you can- toilet paper doesn’t go bad!